2007 Russ Prize
Known as the father of biomechanics, Yuan-Cheng "Bert" Fung was the first to systematically study and quantify how the human body reacts with its surroundings. His research is the basis for the entire field of automotive safety design - all automobile crash tests today rely on his fundamental studies about tissue response. He also contributed directly to the development of artificial skin - which is used to treat burns and other severe tissue injuries such as foot ulcers in diabetic patients - and engineered blood vessels.
In addition, Fung's insight enabled our nation's military forces to develop safer nonlethal weapons and personal body armor. His tissue-stress principles have improved the management of ankle injuries for millions. The principles of biomechanics that he developed have improved the effectiveness and longevity of prosthetic devices.
Fung spent the first 20 years of his career making significant contributions in aeronautics and helped define the field of aeroelasticity. In the 1960s, he began applying his knowledge of force, motion, flow, stress, and strength from aeronautics to better understand how the body works and in 1966 established one of the first bioengineering programs in the country at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).
A 1945 immigrant to the U.S. from China, Fung is currently a professor emeritus of bioengineering at UCSD. He received his engineering degrees in China in the early 1940s.